At a vigil for peace between Israel and Lebanon, Benedict XVI urged reconciliation in response to violence.

At a vigil for peace between Israel and Lebanon, Benedict XVI urged reconciliation in response to violence.

“Lord, free us from all evils and grant us peace; not tomorrow or the day after, grant us peace today!” the Pope implored on Sunday. He was presiding at the vigil in the church of Rhemes-Saint-Georges, near Les Combes, in the Italian Alps where he is spending his holidays.

Following a brief Liturgy of the Word which began at 5:30 p.m., the Holy Father presented the Christian vision of peace in a homily delivered without notes. In his homily he commented on the passage of the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians, which presents Christ as “our peace.”

Addressing some 100 faithful gathered in the church and in the presence of Bishop Giuseppe Anfossi of Aosta, the Pope referred to the disappointment that can be felt given the violence of men against their brothers.

“There is still war between Christians, Muslims and Jews. Others foment war and all is still full of enmity, of violence. Where is the efficacy of your sacrifice? Where in history is this peace of which your apostle speaks to us?” Benedict XVI asked, addressing himself to Jesus.

The Lord’s reconciliation is the answer, the Holy Father said, according to a report by Vatican Radio. “His sacrifice did not remain without efficacy,” the Pope insisted.

As proof, he mentioned “the great reality and communion of the universal Church,” as well as the “islands of peace in the body of Christ,” in particular, the saints of charity “who created oases of God’s peace in the world.”


Martyrs are also these “islands” as they have given “witness of peace, of the love that puts a limit to violence,” the Holy Father said.

In fact, according to the Bishop of Rome, man’s violence has a limit: the love of Christ.

“The Lord conquered on the cross,” he observed. “He did not conquer with a new empire, with a more powerful force to destroy others; he did not conquer in a human manner, as we would imagine, with a stronger empire.

“He conquered with a love that goes unto death. This is God’s new way of conquering. He did not oppose violence with greater violence. He opposed violence precisely with the opposite: love to the end, to his cross.”

The Pope exhorted the faithful to trust in this divine love to be able to be peacemakers.

It is necessary to take our love to all the suffering, knowing that the Judge of the Last Judgment identifies with them, he said.

The central truth of Christianity, “God is love,” must never be obfuscated, but must be reappraised in dialogue with the rest of religions, the Pontiff contended.

He continued: “Today in a multicultural and multireligious world, many are tempted to say: It is better for peace in the world between religions and cultures not to speak too much of the specific character of Christianity, that is, of Jesus, of the Church, and of the sacraments. Let’s leave to one side the things that might be less common.”

“But it isn’t true,” replied the Pope. “Love, the message of love and of all that we can do for those who suffer in this world must also be supported by the testimony of this God, of God’s victory precisely in the nonviolence of his cross.”